Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Attorney General O'Connor joins multistate action to end CDC's unlawful mask mandate

Attorney General O'Connor Joins Multistate Action to End CDC's Unlawful Mask Mandate

OKLAHOMA CITY - Attorney General John O’Connor is joining 20 other states, led by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, in a multistate action against President Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continued use of the unlawful mask mandate on public transportation. Attorney General O’Connor argues that the mandate exceeds the authority of Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Biden administration continues to use a failed interpretation of a quarantine statute—that has been ruled against in court several times—to authorize the CDC’s rule. The continuation of the CDC’s unlawful mask mandate harms the states. It also interferes with state law in places like Oklahoma, which has imposed laws banning forced masking in public schools. The mandate also runs against reason, as now even the states with the most stringent COVID-19 policies are beginning to lift indoor mask mandates. 

“The CDC's mask mandate is a blatant misuse of power,” said Attorney General O’Connor. “This mandate reflects the priorities of federal bureaucrats who are entirely out of touch with the American people. The Biden Administration must end this unconstitutional mask mandate for public transportation.”

In a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, the attorneys general argue that the CDC’s unlawful mask mandate exceeds the agency’s authority in several ways. First, the statute used to justify the mandate does not authorize economy-wide measures. Second, the statute only authorizes rules directly related to preventing the interstate spread of disease—it does not permit mask requirements for individuals who show no sign of infection.

Additionally, the complaint highlights that the CDC rule is arbitrary and capricious, the required notice and comment were not given before the rule was implemented, and the CDC failed to consider actions that states had already taken to control the spread of COVID-19. The mandate also requires state-run conveyances and transportation hubs to affirmatively enforce the rule, in violation of the anti-commandeering doctrine.

The complaint seeks the elimination of the unlawful mask mandate and a permanent injunction against enforcement.

Attorney General O’Connor joins the attorneys general from the following states in signing onto the complaint: Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

To read the full complaint, click here.


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